One of the clear outcomes of the 2020 American presidential election is that while Donald Trump was roundly defeated, Trumpism as a powerful force in American politics was not. For now, the Republican Party remains influenced and largely dominated by Donald Trump. This has only been reinforced in the time since the election, as most Republicans – with varying levels of commitment and only a few notable exceptions – have backed Trump’s claims of election fraud, aspiring to overturn the results of the Presidential election. The fact that the claims are completely baseless, that the these lies led to the assault on the Capital Building on January 6th, or even the incoherence in the argument that many of the same elected leaders who claim the election was rigged won their own election on the same ballot, does not appear to have dissuaded the overwhelming majority of the GOP from this view. The backlash against the few Republicans who did vote to convict Trump in the latest impeachment trial, including through a series of censures by their respective state party organizations, just goes to show how Trumpism – even after the horrific events of January 6th – remains dominant in the GOP.
This is a dangerous situation because America’s two-party system makes it inevitable that the presidency will at some point shift back to Republican hands. While a future Republican president, whether in four, eight, or 12 years, may not be quite as reckless as Trump, they will likely pick up on elements of Trumpism.
The above excerpt was originally published in Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
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